7 Korean Actors That Almost Debuted As Kpop Idols

Published on 26/07/2021

We have heard of idols-turned-actors, with many making a name for themselves in both the music and the acting field. But what about the reverse where actors were the ones trying to become Kpop idols? Is there even such a case? Well, surprisingly enough, there are actually a couple of famous Korean actors that were idol trainees, and they even trained with some of our favorite groups.

1. Lee Jong Suk

Famous through various works like ‘Pinocchio’, ‘While she were Sleeping’, ‘W: Two Worlds’, and ‘I can hear your voice’, the handsome and charming Lee Jong Suk has become such a familiar face to Korean drama geeks, that it’s hard to imagine him working in another field.

However, it turns out that acting is not Jong Suk’s first career of choice. In a segment of SBS’s ‘Midnight TV Entertainment’, the actor revealed that way before his acting debut, he idolized the Kpop icon Bi Rain, and had prepared to become a rapper in an idol group. Even more shocking, the company Lee Jong Suk trained in was actually SM Entertainment.

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The handsome Lee Jong Suk used to train at SM Entertainment

He continued to reveal that he was in SM for a total of 3 months, before quitting because “the idol life was just not for him”.

According to Jong Suk, his supposed group was called ‘Real’, but plans fell through, and some members debuted with another name. While there’s no way to know who the new group is, many people suspect that as Jong Suk was born in 1989, the same as Onew, he could have debuted as a member of boy group SHINee. While it’s a pity that we never get to see a cool rapper Lee Jong Suk,  maybe it’s enough watching his smile on the small screen?

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Lee Jong Suk could have debuted with SHINee?

2. Yoo In Na 

In recent years, Yoo In Na had become more familiar with the public via her roles in ‘My Love from The Stars’, ‘Goblin’, and ‘Touch My Heart’. However, little do people know, this beautiful actress was actually a former DJ, and before that, almost became a Kpop idol.

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The beautiful Yoo In Na always want to become an idol

Yoo In Na actually entered the entertainment industry dreaming of making a name in the music field, and as a result, started training at the age of 16. She pursued this dream for a total of 11 years, switching between 5 different entertainment agencies, only to realize that she had difficulties memorizing choreographies, and thus, was not chosen to debut.

After things fell through, Yoo In Na finally signed with YG Entertainment as an actress, and slowly worked her way to the top of the acting industry. While it’s a pity that we can never see this beautiful actress in a Kpop group, there are still moments of Yoo In Na enjoying herself on stage, and her voice will blow your mind.

3. Ahn Hyo Seop

The rising star Ahn Hyo Seop is slowly gaining public recognition, from playing supporting roles in ‘Entertainer’ and ‘Top Management’, he has been getting lead roles in famous dramas like ‘Abyss’ and ‘Dr. Romantic 2’.

It seemed that Ahn Hyo Seop is very dedicated to his acting career, but did you know that he was in the debut lineup for the internationally well-known Kpop group GOT7? Prepared to be surprised, because the actor had said it himself when he appeared on the talk show ‘Happy Together’. korean actors 1

Ahn Hyo Seob was also training to become an idol

According to Ahn Hyo Seob, while still in school, he suddenly received a recruiting call from JYP Entertainment, and decided to join the company. There, he trained to become a Kpop idol for three whole years, and even resided in the same dormitory as GOT7.

So what happened that pushed our handsome actor into his destined path? Ahn Hyo Seop himself shared that he was “lacking in skill” at the time, and that he was “quite tall unlike other members”. Height is quite the odd reason for elimination, and the actor even expressed that he hated the fact that he was tall.

In the end, however, this height still worked out quite well for the actor, because without it, how would we get the heart-fluttering height difference in ‘Abyss’, right?

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The actor’s height works in ‘Abyss’

4. Goo Hye Sun 

As fans of Korean Dramas, we probably all know of Goo Hye Sun. The actress became so famous after her role in ‘Boy Over Flowers’ that the public all know of her face, and this work alone was enough to supply the actress for life. With multiple talents ranging from painting, music, to acting, it was no surprise to hear that this actress used to train to become an idol.

She started out in SM Entertainment before moving to DSP Media, and finally ended up at YG, where she received professional training to become an idol. Goo Hye Sun could have been a member of the iconic girl group 2NE1, but Yang Hyun Suk, the founder of YG, had advised her to instead pursue acting.

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Goo Hye Sun could have been a member of 2NE1

While established as an actress, it seemed like Goo Hye Sun never gave up on her idol dream. She actually released her first solo album in 2009,  followed by two other studio albums in 2015 and 2016.

Despite all of these though, can you imagine if Goo Hye Sun actually debuted with 2NE1? The actress would look so bizarre in 2NE1’s bizarre concept.

5. Yoo Ah In 

Known to both drama viewers and cinemagoers, it’s undeniable that Yoo Ah In is an extremely established actor. His works are successful both commercially and artistically, ranging from the bright “Sungkyunkwan Scandal” to the dark “Chicago Typewriters”, from the psychological “Burning” to the action-packed “Alive”.

But before Yoo Ah In ventured onto the filming set, he was actually scouted by entertainment companies for his husky voice, and it was here that he got the stage name Yoo Ah In.
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Yoo Ah In was scouted for his voice

For those that didn’t know, the actor’s real name, Uhm Hong Sik, was considered “too heavy” and “old-fashioned”, so his original company asked him to make a more attractive stage name that fits an idol image.

Had Yoo Ah In not found his passion for acting, who knows, maybe we would get a low-tone sexy vocalist on the stage.

6. Go Ara 

Through various famous works like Reply 1994, Hwarang, and the recent Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol, Go Ara has become a familiar face to TV viewers. Her acting career started with a leading role that immediately shot her to fame, so it came as quite a surprise that the actress came really close to debuting as a Kpop idol.

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Go Ara was also an idol trainee

Apparently, she had joined SM Entertainment after winning in a Teen Model Contest, and trained around the same time as ‘Girl’s Generation’. Even more shocking, the actress herself shared that she even recorded a song with the legendary girl group, got acting classes with Super Junior’s Hee Chul, and came extremely close to debut.

However, after her success with the series ‘Sharp 2’, Go Ara believed that acting is her true passion, and thus resigned from Girl’s Generation. While Girl’s Generation is perfect as they are, can you imagine if Go Ara was in the line up?

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What if Go Ara had actually debuted with SNSD?

7. Park Bo Gum

If you are a Bo Gum-stan, you obviously cannot ignore the guy’s passion for singing and dancing. So really, it should come as no surprise to hear that this handsome actor was actually an idol trainee.

Park Bo Gum started learning the piano when he was child, and ever since, had always dreamt of becoming a singer and songwriter. As a student, he sent recordings of him singing and playing the piano to entertainment companies, in hope of getting casted. However, when he joined Sidus HQ, the company recognized his talent for acting, and managed to convince Park Bo Gum to switch his track.

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Park Bo Gum aimed to become an idol before his agency convinced him otherwise

While it’s a pity that we never get to know an idol Bo Gum, who else could play the innocent Choi Taek better? Park Bo Gum is achieving fame as an actor, and can still sing and dance to his heart’s content at all his fan meetings. It’s a win-win situation!